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Suspicion And Fear Is High Among Coastal Communities   
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Suspicion and fear about negative environmental impact, improper disposal of ship generated waste and a sidelining of host communities characterised the first public hearing on the oil industry at Half Assini.

Most of the questions centred around scholarships for senior high school students, incentives for teachers, quota in employment for all the communities, alternative livelihood for fishermen among others.

The Jubilee Field Phase One development public hearing was organised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on an Environmental Impact Study (EIS).

Awulae Annor Adjaye, Paramount Chief of Jomoro, said the beautifully crafted EIS should be implemented to the letter.

He said organisations mandated to ensure its implementation should do so according to the report and should not allow corruption and other negative practices to influence them but must ensure the right things are done.

Awulae Annor Adjaye appealed to the media to be vigilant and monitor the various activities and also protect minority rights.

He said a casual look at mining communities such as Tarkwa and Obuasi showed that most companies did not follow their EIS but abandon them as soon as they were permitted to begin operations.

“This must not happen to us, we should learn from our mistakes, improve on them and set new standards that will be improved upon in future,” he said.

Awulae Annor Adjaye said lands in the Nzema areas would be used as equity for any investor to enable the communities enjoy perpetual revenue, be part owners of the companies and reclaim them after the expiration of the oil and gas sector.

“We do not want to sell our lands which will later be converted into dumping sites for oil generated waste neither do we want to become beggars in our own homeland neither do we want to encourage multiple sale of lands in the Nzema area,” he said.

The chief said the oil find in Ghana should not be a curse as being speculated but should rather be a blessing to the country and all Ghanaians.

"We must all work hard and make the oil a blessing for ourselves and generations yet unborn and must not emulate the negative acts of others who have made their oil find a curse in their countries,” the chief said.

Awulae Annor Adjaye urged companies in the oil sector to explain the final disposal site of its generated waste to the various communities to ensure transparency and remove suspicions.

“It will be sad to hear that waste generated on the rig and around it has been deposited along the shore or buried on some piece of land without following approved procedures,” he said.

Mr. Kofi Essuon of Tullow Oil said all activities in the oil and gas sector would be made transparent.

He said the EPA and other international organisations are closely monitoring the activities of the companies and none of them would want to loose its license to operate in Ghana.

Mr. Essuon appealed to inhabitants of coastal communities to make the education of the children their priority adding that without education many of the youths cannot be employed in the oil industry.

He said the oil industry cannot provide employment for the several hundreds of Ghanaians who are not employed.

Mr. Essuon reminded fishermen that the safety zone, demarcated around the rig, is aimed at safeguarding the lives of fishermen and was not an attempt to deprive them from fishing or travelling to Cote d’Ivoire.
Source: GNA

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